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State Rep. Justin Jones Attempts To Bring Child-Size Coffin Into Tennessee Legislature

Tennessee Rep. Justin Jones (D) carried a child-size coffin into the state’s Capitol on Monday, a symbolic action he took a week after being voted back into office.

Jones carried the prop casket through the Capitol during a protest against gun violence led by the social activist Bishop William Barber II and attempted to bring the casket inside the legislature.

A video circulating online shows security stopping Barber and Jones, who is carrying the small casket. Some of the audio is indistinguishable from background noise, but The Associated Press reports that the sergeant-at-arms would not allow Jones to bring the casket onto the floor.

“Is that a constitutional rule? Or state rule?” Barber asks in the video. Jones says he wants to bring the casket to his desk.

The sergeant-at-arms responds: “House rules. No props.”

Earlier this month, Jones and fellow Democratic state Reps. Justin Pearson and Gloria Johnson joined protesters in the state House chamber and chanted for gun control legislation following the mass shooting in Nashville in which three children and three adults were killed. The action prompted a GOP-led move to expel the three Democrats from the House.

Jones and Pearson, who are Black, were expelled for “disorderly behavior” that “knowingly and intentionally” brought “disorder and dishonor to the House of Representatives.” Meanwhile, Johnson, who is white, was spared by one vote.